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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1998 Aug;19(2):333-7.

Antitumor activity with the HSV-tk-gene-modified cell line PA-1-STK in malignant mesothelioma.

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  • 1Sections of Hematology/Oncology and Pulmonary/Critical Care, and the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center Gene Therapy Program, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, LA, USA.


Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a thoracic malignancy that is increasing in incidence. Since it is uniformly fatal and kills by local spread, investigators have proposed that MM is a good target for novel treatment approaches, such as gene therapy. We hypothesized that delivery of the HSV-tk gene, using gene-modified tumor cells (PA-1-STK cells), would result in an antitumor effect after treatment with ganciclovir. In in vitro mixing experiments, we found that PA-1-STK cells killed both mouse and human mesothelioma cells in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, we found that PA-1-STK cells also prolonged survival of mice with MM when the percentage of total tumor cells was high (70%), but observed no survival benefit when the percentage of PA-1-STK cells was low (30%). These data support the rationale for a cell-based gene therapy approach to MM.

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